BatsConsidered to be one of the most beneficial of nature’s creatures, bats make for interesting study.  The following shorts are fun facts and trivia about bats.

Bats are not rats with wings as they are sometimes described.  They are mammals-the only ones that fly.

The earth is home to nearly one thousand species of bats.  Forty-four different species of bats live in North America.

Bats are creatures of the night, nocturnal animals, that roost during the day in caves, trees, possibly your attic!

Most bats prefer the warm subtropical and tropical areas of the earth.  The noteworthy megabat is one such; it can weigh as much as four pounds with a six-foot wide wing span when in flight.

Megabats are found in Asia, Africa and Australia.  They are often referred to as flying foxes.

A bat’s young are known as pups.

Bats are instrumental in the growth of new trees.  When feeding on nectar from flowers, they carry pollen from one flower to another helping the plant to produce seeds for new trees.

The East African baobab tree is particularly in debt to bats.  This tree’s flowers only open at night-when bats feed. 

About eight hundred kinds of bats are known as microbats.  North American bats are microbats. 

Microbats eat insect pests such as mosquitoes.  In fact, the little brown bat can consume a couple hundred mosquitoes per hour.

Bats use echolocation to locate objects, like mosquitoes, in front of it.  Bats send out high pitch calls that bounce off objects.  By the echoes the bat can hear, it can pinpoint what’s it’s looking for in the dark.

Bats can sense shape, size and movement pattern of its prey-or anything else in its way-with echolocation.

Some insects, like moths, are difficult prey because they can sense the bat’s echolocation and can dive and swoop accordingly to get away.

A bat will either snap up an insect with its mouth or use its wing to scoop it into its mouth.

The fishing bat, better known as the greater bulldog bat, of Central and South America actually grabs small fish out of the water for a meal.  It stores the fish in a pouch in its cheek until it can find a nice (safe) place to dine.

The pallid bat of western North America prefers a diet of centipedes, crickets and scorpions.

Of course, the common vampire bat of Central and South America enjoys the most unusual diet.  Instead of eating small birds or mice like many other bats, the vampire bat will find a cow, for instance, and make a bite and lick up the trickling blood.

Central Texas is home to the largest mammal colony on earth; the Mexican free-tailed bats of Bracken Cave fly there each spring to give birth to their live young.  At this time, the colony is made up of roughly 40 million bats!

In the fall, these bats fly down to Mexico to roost in warmer weather.